A reaction on “Politically Incorrect?” by Phil Johnson relating it to Philippine politics.


“Politically Incorrect?” already circulated several weeks back, thus, some of the supporters of Bro.Eddie especially in the Evangelical Christian block has already backed out their support for Bro.Eddie upon realizing that there are many truths that has been exposed in this article.


I myself, after reading this article nodded my head on his wonderful points to which I strongly believe that are very true.  Now let me just quote the most significant statement on this article to those who haven’t read this article: “Preaching, not lobbying, is how we are supposed to make the truth known. Gospel, not law, is what changes sinful hearts. Service, not dominion, is the most effective way to win people in any culture. And Christ, not moralism, should be the primary substance of our message


Before I get into the main points of this reaction article, I would like to give my sincere appreciation of this article that it has become an eye opener to evangelical Christians in the Philippines. And I strongly believe that this will become in some ways a check-and-balance of our political emotions and work. I believe that the statement above is very true.


The Bible and The Current World Politics

I had a very strong discussion with my former professor in seminary concerning the Biblical quotations of many people who are quoting it for political reasoning. Views like whether or not pastors are allowed to run for government office, Christians are to be most likely the best people to run the government, political immorality, compromise and many other things.


After a long tedious discussion, we finally went down to conclusion that we really cannot relate the current form of government so as the current form of politics in biblical terms since most political governments that exists in Biblical times were imperialism and monarchy which is totally different from what we have in America and in the Philippines which is democracy.


On the other hand, we also cannot deny some biblical quotes that concerns politics like; “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:21) and; “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure” (Pro.11:14) and; “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Pro. 14:34) and finally, probably the most significant one is found in Romans 13:1-7: 1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Titus 3:1; 1Pet 2:13; Prov 8:15; Dan 4:32; 2 So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment 3 (for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, 4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath of the authorities but also because of your conscience. 6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants devoted to governing. 7 Pay everyone what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.”


There are some more passages that can be seen in the Bible but these are some of the most frequently quoted. These passages strongly shows that we need to submit to the governing authorities whoever they are, and whatever they are. I believe, no one will try dispute this statement since this is what the Bible explicitly and implicitly showed and taught.


However, some questions will still arise on the part that the Bible has been silent. Some questions like the following:

  1. Is it God’s will for a Christian pastor or at least a Christian be a part of the political governing authorities?
  2. Is it God’s ultimate will for a nation to be ruled by evil doers or it has been only a permissive will since the people chose those evil doers?
  3. Does the Bible explicitly and implicitly prohibits a Christian to be partisan?


While there are deep truths that we can see in the Bible about Phil Johnson’s exposition, but still, there are questions that need answers to where we need to be more sensitive on God’s will than being legalistic and self righteous.   

Comparing the American Politics to Current Philippine Politics


America is probably the strongest nation who implies democracy as their form of government to which many of its ally nations also adopted the same pattern of government including the Philippines. However, we can see differences between American Politics and Philippine Politics per se.


American politics maintain dignified winning and voluntarily gives way to the opponent when obviously he losses the election. Philippine politicians however are too greedy to give way and do all their best to win by hook or by crook even to the obviously immoral ways.


American politics gives strong imposition on the rules and laws. Philippine politics however is too soft in implementing rules and laws which make a highway for corruption.


American politics is ruled by the law, while Philippine politics is ruled by the law only in terms of principles, but by practice, politicians rule over the law.


American politicians are very discreet in doing corruptions, while Philippine politicians are shockingly vulgar in doing corruptions. And to our dismay, only a few have been convicted and punished by the law.


There could be many more differences, but at least these are the most obvious.




Relating Bro.Eddie’s Candidacy to “Politically Incorrect?”

As for my personal understanding, Phil Johnson has been tackling on things that America has been going through as to the involvement of the Evangelical Christian block to politics. We have been very familiar on how the evangelical Christian block fought through centuries both in English and American politics. In fact, Phil Johnson even quoted Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England.


Oliver is both a politician and a military strategist. There is no wonder why he became almost a dictator and forced people to believe in what he believes. However, we still cannot deny Cromwell’s contribution to England. And for that, you’ll have to read his biography.


As I mentioned earlier, there are differences between the American politics and the Philippine politics. As we relate it to Bro. Eddie’s candidacy, we will be seeing another difference here. American evangelical Christians lobby to influence the passing of laws without having a strong Christian conviction. Not that I am judging their personal conviction but such conviction did not come out to be stronger than the conviction of the atheists and those who do not fear God.


Today, we can actually see its effect on the American society. No Bible reading in public places, no praying in schools, mandatory introduction to preschoolers about homosexuality. Now we can ask to whether or not, should this happen if we can do something.


On the other hand, Bro. Eddie’s candidacy focuses on stopping corruption and re-aligning morality in politics. Of course, Bro.Eddie does not literally claim that he will be the one who will stop corruption, but just like what his commercial says, all of us will stop corruption by literally voting for the right people. And this is what I want to focus on this reaction article.


Answering the Submission to Authorities

I believe that everybody is convinced that most Christians submit to authority. Although some Christians are not convinced that one remains in submission to authorities once they engage in rally or write an article against the government. This is why I believe that it would be a long debate just to define submission.


But what is the perimeter then of submission to authority?


Submission to authority means (in our time), doing the “lawful things” whether or not it is against the ruling administration of the government. The Philippine law itself gives a provision concerning this issue. Going beyond that can be said to be in-submission.  Again, we cannot compare exactly the kind of authorities that Paul have during his time since they are part of the empire, while in our time we are under a democratic form of government. Which also means that in our time, our allegiance is in the law and to our nation to which it says, “no one is above the law.” While before, the people’s allegiance lies to their ruler. But of course, I am sure that we have different ideas on how we define submission.




Making a Better Choice

Again, I strongly believe on what Phil Johnson has said about our duties, responsibilities, and priorities as Christians. But then again, we are also facing some situations to where we need to be more sensitive on God’s will.


I believe that in our particular situation, we have too many differences compared to American politics, thus, some of these things are not instantly applicable in our situation. Going further to our exact situation, we are under the extremely corrupt administration, thus, it is extremely obvious that each one of us could agree that the current administration should step down to power after their term. Anything more than not running again, would simply imply greediness and lust of power after governing 9 years, the second longest president who sit on Philippine government.


Now here comes the election, the agent of democracy. Being a Christian would not exempt us to vote. Being a Christian would not exempt us to choose. This simply means that our being a Christian does not take away our being citizens of our beloved Philippines.


Furthermore, as the passage says, we need to give the things that are Caesar’s and give to the Lord the things that are Lord’s. It did not mean that we have to leave one part of life for another. The fact is we have to live both, our Christian life and our citizen life. Both have duties, both have responsibilities. And for this reason, we cannot escape the fact of our freedom to exercise the rights given by our Philippine Constitution where the Article V: The Right of Suffrage has been mandated.


We can conclude then that engaging in politics and civilian affairs is inevitable to Christians living in democratic government. All we can do is to fulfill our civilian and patriotic duty for our nation (submission) while living it for the glory of our God.  


As for my understanding, there is only a slight difference to what Phil Johnson is saying compared to becoming a partisan. Both will vote. The difference is on endorsing a political personality.


On the issue of endorsing a political candidate, I believe a pastor should also be able to educate members and share what he believes the right person for the position, especially if there is a candidate who has already exemplified a righteous and truthful leadership. And because of this, I also believe that it is reckless and irresponsibility for a pastor who does not do this job and just ignorantly let someone choose an evil doer to rule over them.


But I would also say that it is not right for a pastor to use the pulpit for any political agenda. He can definitely use his influence and share it to his friends by not using the pulpit. Pulpit is for the Lord and not for politics. I believe each pastor should also respect that especially that it is being used for the Lord’s work.


Being a pastor myself, and as for my personal opinion, I do not see anything wrong in endorsing and letting other people know about whom we are supporting in political arena. I also do not see anything wrong in participating in the areas of politics. I don’t see anything wrong for a pastor to run for a government position. All these for me is acceptable, as long as this is their conviction and that they have their personal affirmation from the Lord. It also has to be in a proper place and in a proper time.


May I also say that we have to accept the fact that we really cannot know which one was really called to engage in politics and which ones are not since it is a very personal matter. Ridiculing someone who believed that he was called to do certain things might fall into judging.


I think the right question would be; “How far shall we go in our engagement in politics?” To this, I would agree with Phil Johnson, Christ should be and foremost priority. This means that even if a Christian will be elected as one of the governing party, his main priority should be God’s agenda that is pleasing God in whatever he does.


Going back to the Philippine political situation, I strongly challenge each one to choose the best candidate, who has the strongest stand among all the rest in the fear of God and on pleasing Him. The one that the Lord is saying to us to vote by conscience. This is the only way where we can say that we as voters is pleasing God and choosing to follow his will.


Correcting a Wrong Stand

Before I close this, may I also correct the statement of some, “If this candidate is God’s will to rule over us, he will win without me voting for him.” I believe this is a suicidal faith tendency of a legalistic Christian. We cannot put God’s will in a box by making our own border line. God’s will is usually worked out. I am not saying this to be absolute, but perhaps in most cases.


To make this clear, I want you to relate ourselves in choosing a partner. We all know that Evangelical Christians were taught that it is not God’s will for us to choose a non-believer. Though there has been exemption, but generally speaking, it is what we believe and stand. This example shows that knowing God’s will is accompanied by obedience, and not by fate. In this particular situation we simply cannot say that; “If it will be God’s will for me to have a good life, he will give it to me even if I choose a non-believer.” The same is true in the election process.


Some Concluding Words

All authorities are established by God. In our time, it was shared to us by giving us the authority to choose the best people to rule over us. Furthermore, I always believe that God’s ultimate will for every nation is to have a good ruling body, and perhaps a God-fearing authority.


I have seen nations being ruled by evil doers. But is this God’s ultimate will for us or just a permissive will? My point is this, we have given the authority, the opportunity, the privilege to choose the least evil or the best people whom we believe the best to rule our nation, then why not choose the best and the right people? Why not do what is right? Why not do what is best?


Finally, since the Bible has been silent about becoming a partisan, this is just a personal view. As a pastor, it is part of our duty to teach and influence our members and friends about choosing the right people to rule over us. But ultimately, we don’t have to force them to choose what we believe to be the right people.

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